“Are you out there?” Maybe — but not so fast…


An Asgard, from Stargate SG-1

We’ve transmitted friendship messages, we’ve sent satellites, we’ve scanned the heavens… but we’ve found no clues as to ET or Supreme Commander Thor’s wearabouts yet.  Or have we?

Think of the Internet.  When we send an email, we click “Send” and the email is broken apart into bits and bytes, going through several [if not dozens of] separate servers and paths all over the internet, until it finally arrives at the server address you designated, where it’s reassembled, and readable to the receiver.

Now, to you and me, that’s no news.  No news at all whatsoever.  But imagine intercepting just one piece of this email.  It’s broken apart from the other parts of it; and because it is, it makes no sense to anyone.  You know something is here — but what?

That could be how an advanced alien culture is communicating — but instead of using different wires and communications steams, they could be using different frequencies and technologies all at one time; just as we use several different data pipes to move our information around the world at the same time, even just in email.  We haven’t quite figured out how to map frequency spread communication past hydrogen-based frequencies, which is what we scan for the most often (programs like SETI, etc.)

Michio Kaku, my favorite theoretical physicist, likens this to an Ant, versus a superhighway.  “Imagine you’re an ant,” he says.  “You’re going about your business, doing what ants do…” and meanwhile, you have NO idea that other more complex creatures are building an eight-lane superhighway a few feet away from you.  Now, a few feet in ant-size is the equivalent of several MILES away from you.  However, one of these creatures, a human, approaches you.  He looks down at you and says “I bring you this superhighway.  I bring you the internet.  I bring you nuclear medicine.  Take me to your leader.”

Unfortunately, we have a problem here.  One, not only are you able to understand this human, but two, you have no CONCEPT of what any of this is.  Let’s assume this language barrier doesn’t exist — and that you are now the human, looking down at the ant, saying “I bring you all of this.”  How do you explain to an ANT the basics of a superhighway?  Much less, how do you explain the benefits of nuclear medicine, or the internet?  It’s mind isn’t able to understand these things.

Dr. Kaku states, which I believe, that at this point, we haven’t evolved to an understanding of how things at that level work yet.  Sure, the ants can see us, and may be aware of us… but if you were to walk up to an Ant, and say “Hello…” how could you two break that barrier — not only the language barrier, but communicate so that you both understand each other.


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